Work planned to extend life of Council's Levin office building

Published on 29 March 2017

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Horowhenua District Council will continue with planned remedial improvements to its main office building, as identified by Opus Engineering in 2014 and ISPS Consulting in 2016.

Last Wednesday, a privately-funded engineering report by Structural Concepts was released to media. Council’s Chief Executive David Clapperton has welcomed the release of the report.

“I want to acknowledge the community’s frustration about this ongoing issue,” he said.

“It is important to remember that this fourth report; like the previous reports carried out by Opus, ISPS Consulting and Koru VSL; also confirms the building is currently safe and is not earthquake prone.”

Mr Clapperton says Opus has advised that variations in the reports are not unusual as it is a complex and somewhat subjective matter; with Structural Concepts taking a more conservative perspective.

He said both Opus and Structural Concepts have indicated a willingness to work through the results of the latest report to come up with an overall rating for the building.

“That would cost ratepayers about $50,000, and costs would escalate if the professional opinions differ, as this will lead to a peer review being required.”

Mr Clapperton said expected costs of the remedial improvements, recommended by Opus and ISPS Consulting, to lengthen the life of the building will be in the vicinity of $30,000 and will be covered within the existing maintenance budget.

The work includes filling concrete shrinkage cracks with an epoxy resin and will be carried out when specialist contractors are available.

Mr Clapperton says by carrying out the work recommended by the engineers, HDC employees and the public can be reassured that Council’s building is being maintained to ensure it continues to provide value for money to ratepayers over the long term.

Another difference between the reports relates to the rating as an Importance Level (IL) 4 building with post-disaster function. Structural Concepts’ opinion is that the building has a low IL4 rating, meaning it may be unavailable for use by Civil Defence in the event of a large earthquake. An IL4 building must be designed to resist a 2500 year earthquake.

“Given this, I informed HDC’s Emergency Operations Controller and Horizons Regional Council of the report. However, the public should be reassured that Civil Defence can and will operate from anywhere; for example, in Christchurch operations were run from an art gallery,” Mr Clapperton said.

Assessed as an IL2 building (a normal commercial building without post disaster function), the Council building has received an 87% NBS rating. This corresponds with a grade A or Low Risk. An IL2 building must be designed to resist a 500-year earthquake.